“Strengthen My Hands”
Have you ever noticed that when a passionate, dedicated, leader begins pursuing their vision they encounter obstacles and tremendous opposition?
Have you ever felt the call to do more than the status quo but were met with negativity and opposition at every crossroads?
Have you felt that as you neared your goal that the opposition and negativity of others increased ten-fold?
Have you ever struggled with doubt, lack of self-worth, and felt that all of your efforts failing?
Perhaps, you have been there and perhaps you are amidst this struggle right now? Take comfort and know that you are not alone. In these trials, even the pure of heart experience discouragement and are tempted to give up.
Consider Nehemiah, he was a man of action. He was an engineer by profession but was serving as the cup bearer to the king of Persia. He held true to his beliefs despite serving a Pagan culture. When he heard that his home Jerusalem’s walls lay in ruins his heart was as the walls: broken. He prayed to God and then he acted. He presented his request to the king and the king granted his request to not only travel to Jerusalem, but with all the supplies, monies, and protection he would need. This in itself was a miracle!
Even with all of this support, a group arose up to oppose Nehemiah’s efforts. Let us consider Nehemiah’s story and compare it to our own struggles.
Have we been Slandered?
While rebuilding the wall, his opposition accused him of trying to become king. Have we been slandered, suffered defamation of character, and been wrongly accused while pursuing a noble effort?
Have lies and hurtful words been written about us?
The enemy sent discouraging letters. Have we had to endure reading harsh words about us? Has others wrote unkind and untrue words in order to discourage or attempt to stop us from our goals?
Even one of Nehemiah’s supporters betrayed him. Have we had those we trusted betray our confidence? Has our efforts been slowed or suffered setbacks because of these painful betrayals?
Have we felt like giving up?
And when Nehemiah’s efforts were almost complete he faced even greater discouragement. In the face of all of this opposition what would we ask God to do?
To vanquish or take revenge on our enemies?
To silence the oppositions slanderous language?
Nehemiah prayed an even bolder prayer. He asked God to “strengthen his hands” so he could complete the task.
“They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” Nehemiah 6:9
As we face opposition, adversity, slander, and persecution all while we are striving to hold fast to our principles, let us remember that “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31b).
We who choose to follow God need to remember what they did to His only Son Jesus Christ. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10) and what did mankind do to the Savior of all mankind? We persecuted Him, mocked Him, betrayed Him, spat in His face, beat Him, falsely accused Him, and crucified Him. If we choose to love others as Christ did and boldly step out in faith we must remember Jesus’ words “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Take courage dear friends, Nehemiah drew near to God through prayer and completed the wall in 52 days. This is a feat of engineering that is still discussed to this day. He drew on the strength of God and gave God all the glory. May we pray that God would strengthen our hearts and our hands to finish the task He has placed before us.
Then when we realize the great burden upon our heart has been placed there by God we will also realize our calling. We will then ask for the impossible. We will then face the unimaginable. And if we abide in Jesus and continually seek His face we will be more than conquerors in Christ.
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries